Hey, look-we turned a $400 nonrunning pile into a $1,256.49 daily drivable pile! Why? Because that's what gearheads do.It all started when a loser buddy was moving out of town and pretty much forced us to overpay $400 for his clapped-out '72 El Camino. The floorpans were really rusty (three holes the size of your head), and the 350 hadn't run in 12 years. Most of the parts that had been removed from the car were stacked in the bed, but the transmission was gone. Overlooking that, we dug the fact that it had no air conditioning, no power steering, and no power brakes-our kind of strippo hot rod! Naturally, we had to have it. But then we didn't know what to do with it. We eventually decided to just get it running so we could move it around, but it started to grow on us, sort of like the mold on the seat. We threw some swap meet-speed goodies on it, and now it smokes the bias-plies so brutally that we may even have the incentive to keep building it, slowly adding nicer stuff as we can afford it. After all, Car Craft's Cheap Street '70 Chevelle started this way nearly five years ago, and look at it now! Check out how we threw this thing together in five days, and let us know if you want more. Day One Here's what the engine looked like before our first day of wrenching-a hearty noon-to-3 a.m. session that began by hosing off the car, removing all the stuff we didn't need, and vacuuming up dog hair, cobwebs, black widows, rust, and dirt. We pulled the engine, degreased it, changed the cam, installed a different intake, painted the engine, bolted up the tranny, and reinstalled the engine with headers. Try that marathon some time. Here's what the engine looked like before our first day of wrenching-a hearty noon-to-3 a. Once we threw a 5/8 socket on the crank bolt and turned the engine over, we figured we were home free. Inspection under the valvecovers revealed some mashed valvetips, the result of a few cam lobes that had gone flat, causing too much lash between the rockers and the valves. Once we threw a 5/8 socket on the crank bolt and turned the engine over, we figured we wer We bypassed a valvejob and simply stabbed in a new cam, lifters, and timing set from PAW. We chose a Super Stock Industries PN 10312 cam with 0.465-/0.488-inch lift and 224/234 degrees of duration at 0.050 tappet lift and ran it with the stock valvesprings. The least expensive way to get the gaskets we needed was to buy a complete engine-overhaul kit for $17.95. We bypassed a valvejob and simply stabbed in a new cam, lifters, and timing set from PAW. The Elco came with an ancient Edelbrock SP2P intake (left) and a weird Holley spread-bore double-pumper we'd never seen before. We have a swap meet nitrous system we want to install some day and didn't trust the SP2P with the squeeze, so we nabbed a used Torker II single-plane for $15 from a friend who knew that it had a few stripped threads. The Elco came with an ancient Edelbrock SP2P intake (left) and a weird Holley spread-bore Day Two We planned on reusing the stock exhaust manifolds, but when 1 5/8-tube headers came along for $10, we figured we couldn't lose. They were rusty and had peeling coating, but haven't leaked yet. We planned on reusing the stock exhaust manifolds, but when 1 5/8-tube headers came along The next day we split from work about an hour early, made runs to the parts stores, and got to the shop at by 7 p.m. We wanted to dress the 350 with pulleys and stuff, but got hung up because no local stores had heater bypass caps. They were a must because the alternator blocked access to a heater fitting that refused to come out of the manifold, and clearances were too tight for a homemade plug (a chunk of hose with a bolt stuffed in it). The next day we split from work about an hour early, made runs to the parts stores, and go With engine work stymied, we dove under the car after a run to the hardware store for trans-crossmember and torque-converter bolts. We went to three places before finding a new trans mount; what's the world coming to when auto parts stores don't stock a TH350 biscuit? We also installed the shift linkage, starter, and motor-mount bolts before cleaning up and painting the engine brackets and pulleys. With engine work stymied, we dove under the car after a run to the hardware store for tran Showing a huge leap of faith, we choked up $200 at the Pomona Swap Meet for a supposedly B&M-built TH350 and converter. They worked perfectly, even though we didn't even bother to pull the pan and change the filter. The only bummer is that the converter stalls kinda high, giving a very sluggish feel at low-throttle input. Showing a huge leap of faith, we choked up $200 at the Pomona Swap Meet for a supposedly B We'd spotted that the trans had no cooler-line fittings and bought new ones, along with 5/16-inch hardline-way safer than the rubber-hose trans-cooler lines that were already on the car. We kinked one hardline, misbent the other, and had to buy two more the next day. We couldn't finish the cooler lines so we couldn't install the dipstick (it's in the way), and we didn't want to install the distributor because it would be in the way of installing the trans dipstick. We called it a short night. We'd spotted that the trans had no cooler-line fittings and bought new ones, along with 5/ 1 | 2 | 3 | » | View Full Article By David Freiburger Enjoyed this Post? 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